Mississauga seeking feedback on Official Plan Review

This fall, the City of Mississauga held four Virtual Community Meetings to help refresh the vision and confirm priorities for the Mississauga Official Plan Review.

You may see the presentation and/or watch a recording of the proceedings.

Please share feedback through the City’s Survey and Quick Polls by November 30, 2020.

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MIRANET Opposes Proposed Changes to the Conservation Authorities Act

The Mississauga Residents’ Association Network (MIRANET) is concerned that as our planet is teetering on the edge of an irreversible environmental crisis, political actions are putting roadblocks in the way of long-established initiatives to protect watersheds and environmentally sensitive lands. This needs to stop!  Schedule 6 has no democratic place in the proposed omnibus Budget Bill 229, tabled by the government of Ontario. The very act of burying it in a 219-page Budget Bill is suspect and appears to obfuscate transparency at a time when all eyes are understandably on Covid-19 remediation. It should be removed to allow for proper consultation with conservation authorities (CAs) and stakeholders.

This blatant appropriation of power does not improve upon the existing Act and will not achieve its stated goal of “amending the Conservation Authorities Act to improve transparency and consistency in conservation authority operations, strengthen municipal and provincial oversight and streamline conservation authority roles in permitting and land use planning.” In fact, the public would be better served by maintaining the status quo.

Ontario’s 36 conservation authorities should not be pulled into political deal making. Since 1992, their legislative power, outlined in the Conservation Authorities Act, transcended municipal and political boundaries to serve and protect critical watersheds and environmentally sensitive lands for the health and benefit of all citizens. 95% of the province’s population lives within these conservation areas. Their mandate needs to be enhanced, not curtailed. Who else will protect our life-sustaining watersheds for future generations? These proposed changes to land-use planning should not become a windfall for developers.

The government is trying to bypass scientists and technical experts for their own short-term political gain. Remove Schedule 6 in its entirety from Bill 229!

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MIRANET’s Letter to The Mississauga News

The Mississauga News has published MIRANET’s Letter to the Editor about the City of Mississauga’s attempt to amend the Noise Control Bylaw.

Mississauga needs a more comprehensive noise control bylaw

Monday, November 16, 2020

Dear Editor:

MIRANET has been working diligently to inform residents about its concerns regarding the city’s proposed changes to the existing Noise Control Bylaw. After engaging with the public in January and October 2020, a diverse group of participants in the consultation process (individuals, residents’ associations, MIRANET, business groups, the construction industry, past city councillors, and journalists) were unanimous in their feedback to the city: they wanted less noise. In addition to asking for the inclusion of decibel limits, they asked for the bylaw to reflect the impact of noise on human health. The proposed changes reflect none of this feedback and seemingly led to increasing noise levels instead.

It was unclear what the city hoped to achieve with their changes. The October consultations had technical issues; public input was seemingly ignored; the changes did not embrace the use of modern technology to replace auditory signalling and amplified sound, which would allow organizations to reach wider audiences with minimal noise impact; the use of free decibel level measurement apps was not explored for use in enforcement; there were no proposals for amendments to federal or provincial laws to prevent the sale and distribution of modified mufflers or car audio with settings that exceed the noise threshold for hearing loss; and worst of all, there was no funding to hire additional staff to enforce these bylaws. The entire process was an exercise in mediocrity.

On Nov. 9, MIRANET received confirmation that the city would be postponing its review of the current Noise Control Bylaw, citing COVID-19 and an expanding scope of work needed for the bylaw review. MIRANET applauds both this decision and city staff for recognizing that more work needs to be done. We hope they use this additional time for meaningful engagement with all stakeholders and the development of a thoughtful, comprehensive bylaw. A Noise Control Bylaw that balances competing stakeholder needs, identifies mitigation measures to minimize noise impacts, embraces modern technology, minimizes financial impacts to taxpayers, and supports public health objectives. As residents of a world-class city, we deserve nothing less.

Sue Shanly

Chair, MIRANET

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John Stewart of The Mississauga News highlights the Noise Control By-law consultation

In an opinion piece by the longtime Mississauga News columnist John Stewart talks about the noise heard in the city, and gives a shout-out (no pun intended) to the City’s ongoing Noise Control by-law amendments process.

John ends his column saying, “The foregoing is a self-indulgent effort to draw attention to the current review of Mississauga’s noise control bylaw.”

Read the article here.

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MIRANET commends City’s STA framework, recommends higher fee

MIRANET was quoted in The Mississauga News in an article about Short Term Accommodation (STA):

Sue Shanly, chair of the Mississauga Resident’s Association Network, commended the city’s efforts on putting the framework together, but expressed concerns that the operators’ fee was not high enough to maintain the enforcement program.

“It’s big business,” she said. “A lot of short-term hosts make a lot of money and to pay a small fee is just the cost of doing business.”

You can read the article here.

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Noise Control Bylaw – Survey Question 1

City Staff have recommended that the current Noise Control Bylaw be updated to address several types of unreasonable or unnecessary vehicle noise. The recommendation reads as follows:

Recommendation 6 – That Schedule One of the Noise Control By-law be updated to include a provision prohibiting drivers from making unreasonable or unnecessary noise: “A person having the control or charge of a motor vehicle shall not sound any bell, horn or other signalling device so as to make an unreasonable noise, or install a modified muffler or exhaust with the express intention to create unreasonable noise, nor shall the driver at any time operate or cause the motor vehicle to make any unnecessary noise or noise likely to disturb an inhabitant of the City of Mississauga.”

While it seems eminently reasonable to have a bylaw limiting excessive motor vehicle noise such as honking, persistent car alarms, modified mufflers, squealing tires, and loud music, it would also be reasonable to have a realistic plan to enforce such a bylaw. However, Staff have identified several obstacles to enforcement:

  1. In order to increase existing service levels to provide Municipal Licensing and Enforcement Officer (MLEO) onsite response and investigation, a significant financial investment is required. The 18 MLEOs currently employed by the City work regular business hours. These hours would need to be expanded to evenings and weekends, which would require the hiring of additional staff (See concern 1 below for further details).
  2. If MLEOs are to have the ability to measure decibel levels of the excessive noise source, capital investments would be required. Given the financial impacts of Covid-19 on the municipal budget Staff are not recommending or pursuing such investments at this time (See concern 2 & 3 below for further details).
  3. In the absence of investment in additional staff or decibel level measurement technology, Staff has recognized that current service levels will not satisfy public demand for greater enforcement services. Instead they have proposed a Priority Response Model, in which urgent  Priority 1matters will result in an MLEO on-site investigation within 24 hours (see Table 1 below).
  4. Under the current Nuisance Type Noise Bylaw, MLEOs have no authority to charge motorists. This means that joint vehicle enforcement operations with Peel Regional Police must use the Nuisance Type Noise Bylaw until the new Bylaw is in place.
Priority LevelDescriptionResponse TimeExample
Priority OneAn urgent matter that requires an MLEO to conduct an on-sire investigation. This is a matter that is outside of the permitted hours. HIGH likelihood of reoccurrence; ANDHIGH impact to residentsWithin 24 hoursConstruction excavation creating noise outside of permitted hoursCommercial and industrial loading and unloading noise
Priority TwoA non-urgent matter that requires and MLEO to conduct an on-site investigation. It is a matter that is either outside of the permitted hours or an instance of persistent noise. HIGH likelihood or reoccurrence ; ORHIGH impact to residentsWithin 5 business daysNoise occurring from a malfunctioning air conditionerPersistent amplified sound from a residence within permitted timesDog barking – multiple complaints from multiple residents
Priority ThreeA non-urgent matter that does not require an on-site investigation by an MLEO LOW likelihood of recurrence; ORLOW impact to residentsLetter may be sent out to the subject of the complaint.An isolated backyard event such as a wedding where a complaint is entered on the following business day.

Table 1: Priority Response Model; City of Mississauga Corporate Report; June 12, 2020; Noise Control Program Review; Geoff Wright, P.Eng, MBA Commissioner of Transportation and Works

In summary:

  • If MLEOs are to conduct joint vehicle enforcement operations with the Region of Peel Police, the proposed Bylaw must be amended so that they have the ability to charge motorists.
  • In order to improve Bylaw response additional MLEOs would need to be hired, for which there is currently no funding.
  • In order to take decibel level measurements additional equipment would need to be purchased, for which there is currently no funding.
  • Due to the financial impacts of Covid-19, there is currently no funding, nor will there be any funding in the foreseeable future.
  • In the interim, the City has proposed a Priority Response Model, for which motor vehicle noise would most likely be deemed a Priority 3. At best “a letter may be sent out to the subject of the complaint”  (City of Mississauga Corporate Report, June 12, 2020) provided the complainant has the eagle-eyed ability to capture the licence plate number of a fast moving vehicle speeding away in the night.
  1. While there may be no funding to hire MLEOs, is the deployment of a Peel Regional Police Officer an acceptable alternative? In 2019, the Region of Peel spent $445.6M on policing. This represented a total 17.8% of the Region’s operating budget (The Toronto Star, Nov. 28, 2019; Steve Cornwell). With an increase in violent crime in both Brampton and Mississauga, is this a prudent use of police resources?

The average salary of a Region of Peel Constable, First Class is $117,627; however it could be anywhere in a range of $111,880 to $145,457 (www.glassdoor.ca). That is some very expensive Bylaw enforcement – a case perhaps of penny wise, pound foolish?

Do you feel that the deployment of Peel Regional Police Officers in conjunction with Municipal Licensing and Enforcement Officers (MLEOs) is an acceptable method of Bylaw enforcement?

Would you like the City to provide a cost analysis of enforcement by:

  1. Peel Regional Police AND Municipal Licensing and Enforcement Officers versus
  2. Municipal Licensing and Enforcement Officers only?
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Noise Control Bylaw: MIRANET wants to know your thoughts

Survey Questions – Introduction

The City of Mississauga is currently engaged in the process of reviewing the existing Noise Control Bylaws; the Mayor and Council have given City Staff a mandate to consult with the public, conduct background research, and propose recommendations for change.

Thus far Staff have conducted six public consultations in December 2019/ January 2020 with a number of stakeholders: individuals, Residents’ Associations, business groups, and the construction industry. The three major takeaways from the consultations were:

  1. Everyone wanted less, not more, noise.
  2. The new Noise Bylaw needed to be accompanied by meaningful enforcement which would include the measurement of decibel levels.
  3. Health impacts of each type of noise source needed to be included in developing the proposed recommendations.

The public consultations were followed up with an online survey containing questions which were posed without any context, leading respondents to give answers which were contradictory:

  1. 76.1% of respondents voted to ban loudspeaker noise, but
  2. 65.4% agreed to exemptions

The poor wording and ambiguity of the questions resulted in a lack of meaningful granularity in the data, or put more simply: “Garbage in, garbage out.” MIRANET has questioned the use of ambiguously worded surveys that produce poor quality data. The creation of surveys and the analysis of the resulting data is a science in and of itself, which is best left to the experts.

The three virtual consultations conducted in October 2020 were less than successful, with two of the three consultations hampered by technical glitches and administrative errors which prevented eager citizens from participating. No explanations or apologies were offered and no consultations were rescheduled.

City Staff intend to present their final report and recommendations to the Mayor and Council on November 18, 2020. We have recently learnt that they will be presenting additional recommendations on this date. This means that the public will have less than one week to review these new recommendations and provide feedback to City Staff and Council.

Throughout this entire process, democratic participation and meaningful public input has been thwarted at every turn. It appears that City Staff is no longer functioning as impartial advisers to the Mayor and Council, but merely the rubber stamp needed to enact their wishes. Taking part in consultations, filling in surveys, giving deputations to Council have all become exercises in futility. Public participation in municipal democracy has devolved into the punishment of Sisyphus, with residents struggling mightily to role a rock up a hill, only to see it come crashing down again.

MIRANET would like to hear your thoughts on the proposed Noise Control Bylaw; so over the next two weeks we will be asking for your feedback on the most ill-conceived recommendations made by City Staff. We hope to provide you with meaningful context for each of these recommendations and will use your responses to get a clear picture of what residents think about these proposed changes.

Please check our Instagram account and/ or Twitter account for questions for the questions. They will also be posted on this website starting tomorrow.

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MIRANET’s response to noise bylaw review in Peel Weekly News

MIRANET’s response to the City of Mississauga’s Noise By-law Review has been covered in Peel Weekly News.

MIRANET's response to noise bylaw review in Peel Weekly News
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MIRANET conducts 2020 Annual General Meeting

The Mississauga Residents’ Association Network (MIRANET) held its 2020 annual general meeting (AGM) via a Zoom call on 16 September 2020. Out of an abundance of caution, the MIRANET executive decided that the only safe way to conduct its 2020 AGM was via the popular Zoom videoconferencing software.

The AGM was originally scheduled for April of this year but with restrictions coming into force from March, it was pushed further into the year.

After a call to order and with a quorum, current Chair Sue Shanly read out her report of MIRANET activities in the past year (2019-20). Among notable achievements were MIRANET presentations on secession from Peel Region, submission on Bill 108, review of the City’s and Region’s budgets. MIRANET met with the Fire Chief to better understand and analyze the rationale behind the construction of additional fire stations. In October 2019, member RAs organized a candidates’ debate for the federal election. In December, MIRANET made a deputation to Council and followed-up with a press release and a print article in the Peel Weekly News about AirBnB/ Short Term Accommodation. MIRANET has also been following up and contributing regularly to the City’s attempt at updating the Noise Control By-Law. MIRANET has repeatedly pointed out several procedural lapses and questioned some unnecessary changes.

Following the introduction of candidates, a vote was held. The incoming executive committee is as follows:

MIRANET EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE 2020-21
NAMEPOSITION
Sue ShanlyChair
Trevor Isaac1St Vice Chair
Cathy Easton2nd Vice Chair
Charlene HauptTreasurer
Petra SchellerSecretary

With input from the RAs, the incoming executives plan to focus on Civic Issues (Bill 108, LPAT, Section 37, and Charter Cities); Budgets (Municipal, Regional, Provincial, and Federal); Social Issues (Housing, Social Justice, Education, and Poverty Reduction); and, Environment and Climate Change.

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Walk the Walk for The Compass

A message from The Compass Food Bank & Outreach Centre

Hi Everyone,

We are currently gearing up for this year’s Walk the Walk for the Compass, and our amazing volunteers are a core part of what makes the event so special every year. While this year we will be doing a Virtual walk for the first time, it’s still going to be lots of fun!

The walk has traditionally been a great opportunity for Compass volunteers to get together, and though we will not be able to meet up in person and walk together, the virtual walk will allow you to put your Compass shirt on and walk or run your favourite routes. You are welcome to walk by yourself, or sign up your family and create a team. Spread the word, and walk wherever you’d like, indoors or outdoors. The Walk will take place between September 13th and September 19th, 2020 this year, and you can sign up for the Walk today by clicking here https://thecompass.ca/walk/ and register to fundraise online through Canada Helps, or download a traditional fundraising form. This graphic will give you more information on ‘How to Walk the Walk’.

Last year your volunteering, hard work and donations helped us distribute 486,000 pounds of food, serving over 7000 hot meals and 18,000 snacks! We provided 46 children spaces in day camps and 186 backpacks filled with school supplies. Walk the Walk for the Compass helps us provide help for today and hope for tomorrow to our clients.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact zelia@thecompass.ca.

So tighten your shoelaces, and we’ll ‘see’ you soon!

Thank you!!

 

 

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COVID-19 resources

There are many resources on the Internet on COVID-19. Below, you will find a list of government websites to help you get up to date information at the municipal, provincial, and federal government level.

City of Mississauga: https://web.mississauga.ca/city-of-mississauga-news/covid-19/

Region of Peel: https://peelregion.ca/coronavirus/

Government of Ontario: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/

Government of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html

The Government of Canada has also released an app which will let you receive the latest updates, trusted resources, and self-assess your symptoms. Click here for more information.

 

These are extraordinary times. We urge you to remain calm, be patient, stay safe, practice social distancing, and wash your hands regularly. We will all get through this by looking out for each other and co-operating with each other.

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Update on MIRANET meetings and AGM

Due to social distancing guidelines and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, MIRANET meetings and AGM have been postponed until further notice.

The executive keeps in touch through conference calls and emails.

You can get in touch via e-mail: info [AT] miranet [DOT] ca or Twitter @miranet_network

 

Stay home, stay safe, and practice social distancing. We will get through this.

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SpeakUpOntario.ca: A great website for families and health care providers on COVID-19

We are in uncharted territory with the spread of COVID-19. We haven’t faced a pandemic in our living memory, which is what makes the current situation all the more alarming.

It has become clear that

  1. the virus spreads far more insidiously than we expect, and
  2. among the cases that are severe, and lead to fatalities, families have no time to say goodbye or plan for anything once a loved one becomes serious

MIRANET received the following advice from a current paramedic, on dealing with the local impact of COVID-19.

Community members will be essential as caregivers for those infected that remain at home. Hospitals are quickly reaching capacity in Ontario.

A basic understanding of infection control will help prepare our neighbours as they become caregivers.

Dr. Lawrence Loh, Interim Medical Officer of Health at Peel Public Health indicated that masks and eye protection are required for any home caregivers. These can be made by using double layer T-shirts. Bleach is the best cleaner: 1 part Bleach, 9 parts water in small quantities. Diluted bleach has a shelf life of a few days.

 

As patients become seriously sick, they will rapidly need to be intubated and ventilated. Visitors are not allowed in the hospital.

Staff will be to busy to connect those seriously ill patients with their family members for the final conversations regarding care plans and saying goodbye.

Advance care planning – the difficult conversations – need to happen now. SpeakupOntario.ca is a great website for families and health care providers that will help with these conversations.

 

We hope you find the above useful. We urge everyone to stay home, practice hand-washing, and physical distancing. Stay safe everyone. We will get through this!

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MIRANET protests shutting out of public input at City Hall

MIRANET’s Chris Mackie spoke at City Hall recently to protest a proposed move to curtail citizen input. He has been quoted in a news article by The Mississauga News.

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Municipal and Regional Consultation Process- MIRANET asks was it worth it?

Mississauga, ON: On Friday, October 25, Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark announced that the Province will no longer be pursuing its top-down approach to municipal and regional governance. It will no longer follow through on its promise to redraw municipal and regional boundaries in an effort to find efficiencies and reduce costs. Instead Queen’s Park is making up to $143-million available to municipalities across Ontario to assist them in finding ways to lower costs and improve services. This decision comes after months of consultation and after the province announced cuts for public health care units, child care, ambulance services and others.

Here is what MIRANET (Mississauga Residents’ Association Network) knows so far:

  • Michael Fenn (former Ontario Deputy Minister) and Ken Seiling (former Waterloo Regional Chair) were appointed in January 2019 to review Ontario’s eight regional municipalities; Peel being one of them. These were paid appointments. How much did these appointments cost the taxpayers of Ontario?

 

  • After ten months, 8,500 submissions, and nine consultation sessions with individuals and organizations to find ways to improve municipal and regional government, the Ford government has decided to halt this process and stay with the STATUS QUO. How much did this consultation process cost the taxpayers of Ontario?

 

  • Regions and municipalities were left scrambling to respond, many being forced to hire expensive consultants working under tight deadlines to conduct their own analyses of the options. In the case of Mississauga and the Region of Peel almost $1-million was spent ($60,000 for a post card campaign by the Mayor’s Office; a $300,000 impact analysis by Deloitte for the Region of Peel; a $600,000 impact analysis by Ernst and Young). What was the total cost to the rest of the taxpayers across the province?

 

  • Ratepayers’ Associations and special interest groups, like MIRANET, had to marshal their limited resources in a short period of time to craft their submissions to the Special Advisers. How much did their time and effort cost?

 

Does the $143-million being offered by the Provincial Government cover the costs of the consultation process as well as municipal budget cuts which have already been implemented? Also, we would like to see the results of the impact analysis as they may indicate efficiencies and cost savings that could help municipalities now. After all, we paid for this.

This government did not have a mandate to redraw municipal and regional boundaries; nor did it have a mandate to cut public service sector jobs. On the contrary, they promised no jobs would be lost. Perhaps it is time for the Regions and Municipalities of Ontario to renegotiate their legal relationship with the Province? While municipalities are creatures of the province, they are also the engines that drive its economy – any tinkering on the fly could make them seize up and stop working.

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South West Mississauga Ratepayers’ Association federal election debate on Oct 10

On October 10th 2019 the ratepayer groups of Southwest Mississauga (SWMRA) are once again putting on a debate for the upcoming Federal election which is scheduled to be held on October 21st, 2019.

You will have the opportunity to hear the candidates thoughts on how they will improve our Country and our way of life. Use your voice and your vote to make positive changes Federally. Many of you have attended our debates in the past know that they are spirited and the information provided helps us all make a more informed decision on who we want to lead our country into the future.

Get out and Vote!

 

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Lisgar Residents’ Association Federal Election Candidates Debate

The Lisgar Residents’ Association (a non-partisan group of community-minded volunteers)

invites you to a

Federal Election Candidates Debate

for the riding of Mississauga-Streetsville

Conservative – Ghada Melek
Green Party – Chris Hill
Liberal – Gagan Sikand
NDP – TBA

Tuesday, September 24, 2019
7:00pm-9:00pm

@ St. Simon Stock Elementary School
6440 Lisgar Dr, Mississauga

Meet the candidates. Come with your questions.

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Media coverage of MIRANET comments on Bill 108

MIRANET’s comments on Bill 108 were covered by Peel Weekly News. See below for full text of MIRANET’s submission.

MIRANET comments on Bill 108 - Peel Weekly News, 6 June 2019

 

 

 

MIRANET’s Bill 108 Concerns

The Mississauga Residents’ Association Network (MIRANET) is a city-wide network of residents’ associations.  MIRANET notes that Bill 108 (More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019) has received second reading in the Legislature.  The period for public comment closes on June 1, 2019.  More time should be permitted for public input when Bill 108 proposes to amend 13 statutes. We have serious concerns about the Province’s proposed Bill 108.

Economists on all sides of the political debate have authored numerous studies demonstrating that “trickle down economics” is a failure. There is no evidence to support that a reduction in Development Charges (DCs) will lead to more affordable housing. There is no mechanism to ensure that these cost savings will be passed on to the home buyer. Home prices respond to supply and demand. This reduction in DCs is tantamount to an industry subsidy for developers at the expense of the taxpayer.

Mississauga has been developing a comprehensive housing strategy in consultation with residents and stakeholder groups which will utilize inclusionary zoning.  This may be negated by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing who will have the power to restrict the City’s Official Plan and override municipalities. Who will benefit? Only the developers.

Municipal taxpayers must not subsidize the highly profitable development industry; we are already burdened enough by the high property taxes we pay. In a free market, Developers must be able to stand on their own two feet. The proposed changes will increase red tape and staffing requirements. The Municipality will be assuming greater financial risks due to the reduced development charge payment schedules. The Municipality must not assume the financial risk if Developers go bankrupt, are sold or move. WILL THE PROVINCE MAKE UP FOR ANY REDUCTIONS IN DC REVENUE?  

The community benefit charge could be the most significant of all the proposed changes. In the current Planning Act, “Section 37/Community Benefits” are known as bonus zoning, applying to sites that see height and density increases, beyond current zoning. The Developer contributes a portion of the land value uplift to help off-set the impact of this unexpected and increased development. This puts the amount back into the community that is receiving the extra height/density. The Bill proposes that the term “Community Benefit” include: Section 37 contributions, soft services development charges (e.g. library, recreation and parks, and other services traditionally subject to the statutory ten per cent deduction under the Development Charges Act, 1997); and payment in lieu of parkland dedication.

The legislation indicates the new “Community Benefit” will be capped at a prescribed percentage of the value of the lands, rather than a per-unit type of charge. If the cap reduces what the City can collect, there could be impacts on the tax base or service levels. MIRANET suggests the value of land bears no relationship to the projected number of residents living on that land who will require Municipal services.  A Complete Community has parks, libraries, and recreation facilities which make it a liveable community.  The Premier’s Bill 108 will deny us these benefits.  Who wants to live In a concrete jungle?

The shortened time lines under the proposed streamlined Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) will no longer allow for meaningful public consultation and will generate much greater staffing and resource requirements for the City’s Planning Department. Municipalities are already struggling to meet the current timelines. This will cost more money. WILL THE PROVINCE COVER THESE COSTS?

After years of public and stakeholder consultation, the Province implemented changes to the seriously flawed OMB model, introducing the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) that gives more power to Municipalities and residents. The Province’s new model returns power to Developers. Will Bill 108 have the effect of taxpayers partially funding developments? We certainly hope not.

Does being open for business mean taxpayers are expected to foot the bill? IS THIS GOVERNMENT FOR THE PEOPLE?

 

MIRANET

Mississauga Residents’ Association Network

31 May 2019

 

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Further media coverage of MIRANET response to regional governance review

The well-respected and longtime journalist John Stewart of The Mississauga News referenced MIRANET in his May 20 column “Can we please have an honest conversation about leaving Peel?” He points out that “MIRANET is concerned about the one-sided focus on taxes and costs while ignoring investments in our future and believes the consultation process lacks transparency and, therefore, legitimacy,”.

MIRANET’s submission to the regional government review was also published in summary form by The Mississauga News. Titled “City can’t pursue separation without informed consent“, it notes that “In the end, the residents of Peel should ultimately be the ones to decide the fate of their region, not councillors or the province”.

 

 

 

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MIRANET response to regional governance review covered in Peel Weekly News

MIRANET’s remarks to the Regional Government Review panel presented on 8 May 2019 have been published in the Peel Weekly News. Please see below for the article.

 

MIRANET responds to regional governance review - Peel Weekly News, 16 May 2019

MIRANET responds to regional governance review – Peel Weekly News, 16 May 2019

 

 

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No marriage, divorce, or counselling, without informed consent – MIRANET’s submission to Regional Government Review

On 8 May 2019, MIRANET presented to the Peel Consultation of the Regional Government Review. MIRANET’s remarks and press release are below.

MIRANET’s Thoughts on Regional Government Changes

Good afternoon. We are Sue Shanly and Charlene Haupt from MIRANET–the Mississauga Residents’ Association Network. We are a Network of Residents’ Associations across Mississauga and are here today to voice the concerns of our members about the future of the City of Mississauga and the Region of Peel.

Frankly, we struggled with your brief as outlined in the email invitation. There was no methodology or standard of measurement given by which to provide you with meaningful feedback. Further consultation with the online Terms of Reference was also not helpful.

  1. Introduction

Is half a day enough time for you to listen to the questions and concerns of a region of over 1 million people made up of 3 different municipalities? You are here today – for a few hours during the day – to decide the fate of an almost five decade old union that has more than tripled in population, created numerous jobs and unprecedented prosperity for all, and is now jointly responsible for billions of dollars of infrastructure which will be around for many decades to come. It takes a lifetime of marriage to form a strong union. A union of two individuals produces shared offspring. It also creates joint liabilities – a house, a car. In terms of the region, this translates to regional services and regional infrastructure. A divorce almost always creates unhappiness and unintended consequences – constant legal wrangling and costs, neglected offspring and broken individuals. The same could happen to the Region should it allow the City of Mississauga to leave.

We are not saying that this union is perfect – there is certainly room for improvement. However, you cannot change something unless you know what is working and what is not. Change for the sake of change may end up breaking something that did not need fixing in the first place.

  1. Lack of Time and Information

Given the complexity of this issue MIRANET feels we do not have enough time or information to make a thoughtful, educated decision. What is the urgency? We have been presented with two reports thus far: the Deloitte Report commissioned by the Region of Peel; and the Corporate Report from the City of Mississauga. Mayor Crombie has criticized the Deloitte Report for “having an agenda.” As citizens of a democracy we are entitled to an unbiased report conducted by a third party.

  1. The Marriage Option

More time for review of the three options is needed: amalgamation, secession, and status quo. Or as we refer to them: marriage, divorce and counselling. Why is the Province rushing the marriage when it will be such a complicated decision? How will this process be any different given the complexity of Toronto’s amalgamation whose negative impacts are still being felt today and which did not create the efficiencies that were expected? The report from the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) in 2013 concluded that the two-tier option was preferable in terms of costs and ability to govern effectively. The report from the Fraser Institute, a conservative think-tank, published in 2015, concluded that Ontario amalgamations in the 1990’s did not yield any benefits. Not only do we face increased operating costs and therefore taxes, but we also face the potential reduction in the number of Councillors, making it harder for our voices to be heard. At this point we are concerned that we are headed for a shot-gun wedding. And as the old adage goes: marry in haste, repent at leisure.

  1. The Divorce Option

Our second option is divorce, which has been endorsed by the City of Mississauga as outlined in their Corporate Report, which is partly based on information that is 16 years out of date. It is impossible to draw any conclusions supporting divorce based on the information currently available. What mechanism would be put in place to separate capital investments or ongoing liabilities such as waste dumps? Who will be accountable? How will service transfers be decided and managed? What are the contingency plans? How long will the divorce take? Will there be sufficient time for the divorce to proceed in an orderly manner? Is there a dispute resolution mechanism in place? Or will we be contending with utter chaos and mounting legal bills for years to come? We have nothing but questions in search of answers.

  1. The Status Quo Option

The final option is maintaining the status quo. According to the City’s own Citizens’ Satisfaction Surveys (the most recent being 2017) 89% of residents rated the overall quality of life as excellent or good, and 71% were satisfied with the City’s municipal government. The greater issue seems to be lack of dedicated funding from the Provincial Government.

To date we have not seen or been given access to any studies which identify inefficiencies within the current two-tier system of government. If we knew exactly what the problems were, we could then formulate appropriate solutions. Isn’t the simplest option usually the best? Or in other words: it ain’t broke, it just needs some minor adjustments.

  1. Concluding Thoughts

Throughout this entire, very short and very chaotic process, three things stand out:

  1. The one-sided focus on taxes and costs. There has been no mention of investments, investments in people. In our democratic society we have all agreed to pay taxes in order that these monies may be redistributed for our mutual benefit. Every tax dollar is an investment in ourselves, in our neighbours and in our future. Every line item within the regional and municipal budgets is an investment in the residents of Peel and Mississauga and in our shared values. We should not just be looking at absolute costs but at returns on investment, something that leading economists the world over are advocating.
  2. This process lacks transparency and therefore legitimacy. We currently have no unbiased information at our disposal, nor do we have any real input into the final decision. We have not been given the yardsticks by which the special advisors will be measuring regional governance, decision-making and service delivery – they were not provided in the emailed brief nor were they provided in the online Terms of Reference. A robust democracy requires access to credible and reliable information, an electorate willing to spend the time to educate themselves on the issues and a government prepared to listen, learn and acquiesce to the will of the people.
  3. The residents of Peel should ultimately be the ones to decide the fate of their region. By this we mean the electorate; this is not a decision that should be left to either the province or our Municipal Councillors where neither has been given a mandate to do so.

 

Regional Review Consultation Press Release - 8 May 2019

Regional Review Consultation Press Release – 8 May 2019

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MIRANET Press Release: Did you vote for this?

Did you vote for this?

Whether you’re for or against Mississauga’s secession from the Region of Peel, is not the issue. For a decision that could impact us all for generations to come, residents of Mississauga must be given the opportunity to make an informed decision. We need time independent studies/analyses and public consultation in order to make an informed decision. Not one council member, including the mayor or the Premier of Ontario, ran on this platform and thus has no mandate. The deadline that has been imposed on us is utterly meaningless, arbitrary and capricious.

Our elected officials serve at the behest of the people. They need to represent our views in a more democratic way.

We need our City officials to stand up to the provincial government on our behalf. That is their job. We want the Province to slow down this process and provide an independent transparent report to the residents of Peel Region.

~to quote Harlan Ellison

“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”

__________________________________________________________________________________

MIRANET (Mississauga Residents’ Association Network)

For further information, contact Sue Shanly, Chair of MIRANET Council

info@miranet.ca

Twitter: @MIRANET_network

 

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May 1 Town Hall on Regional Government

More than 100 residents from wards 1 and 2 filled the Royal Canadian Legion in Port Credit to hear the City of Mississauga’s rationale for becoming a single-tier entity, independent of the Region of Peel.  Other options such as amalgamation with its municipal siblings Brampton and/or Caledon, or staying within Peel Region with efficiency “tweaks”, were not thought by Mississauga Council to be the most fiscally prudent action to undertake.

The feeling in the room seemed to be split with some supporting the City’s stance, while others thought amalgamation would be a better option. Still others thought staying within Peel Region would be more beneficial for our future.

Starting May 2nd the City of Mississauga will start a mail campaign to residents where they can send a postage-paid pre-addressed postcard to the province to show their support for Mississauga’s independence.  Many thought that options on that postcard could have been made better simply by including a “NO” option.

Mississauga’s position is based on a report first released by the city back in 2003 but updated this year.  Brampton prefers to cite the Region of Peel’s 2019 report it commissioned by Deloitte instead.   As a result of March 28 debate at Peel Regional Council, a third financial report is underway involving input from all 3 municipalities and Peel Region, in the hope for its completion prior to the May 22 deadline for submissions. Most agree this is an unlikely outcome.

Regardless of what the report indicates it will probably have no bearing on the final outcome for two reasons: Elected Mississauga reps spoke on residents’ behalf without advance consultation, and ultimately the Premier and his Cabinet can decide our fate without disclosure of recommendations of the Report concerning the Regional Municipal Review.

All in all May 1 was a very spirited evening.

You can read more about the evening here:

Mississauga Wards mull secession during town hall – http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/infinity/article_popover_share.aspx?guid=0d25cf18-d679-4156-95f4-8941233d7aef

https://www.insauga.com/mississauga-demands-new-report-on-costs-involved-in-separating-from-the-region-of-peel

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MIRANET 2019 Annual General Meeting

The Mississauga Residents’ Association Network – MIRANET – will have its 2019 Annual General Meeting on April 10 at the Port Credit Legion.

Our Guest Speaker is Ryan Clarke, President of Advocacy Solutions.

Ryan Clarke is the president of Advocacy Solutions. He helps advocates synthesize advocacy campaigns, amplify campaign messaging, and engage and influence key decision makers through the development and implementation of impactful advocacy strategies. Since founding the practice in 2003, Ryan has spoken about advocacy across Canada and internationally, teaching and training thousands of people how to make their voices heard.

A member of the Law Society of Ontario, Ryan was called to the Ontario Bar in 1995 and practiced exclusively in the area of family law for almost three years. He then became a Special Assistant to the Ontario Minister of Energy, Science and Technology, serving as policy advisor on all issues within the Science and Technology Division. Ryan joined Glaxo Wellcome (now GlaxoSmithKline Inc.) in 1999 as Senior Manager, Public Affairs specializing in public policy and government relations at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.

Ryan holds both an Honours B.A. and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and studied law at the University of Western Ontario.

As well as being a member of the Canadian and Ontario Bar Associations, Ryan is an active member of several business organizations, including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. A former member of the Biotechnology Council of Ontario, Ryan was previously a government appointed public member of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, having served as Chair of the Legal and Legislation Committee.

 

Interested citizens and resident associations are requested to attend. Please RSVP to Sue Shanly at sshan[AT]rogers[DOT]com

 

 

MIRANET 2019 AGM Invite

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Plastics in Our Oceans and Lakes

On March 9th Sven Spengemann, MP for Mississauga-Lakeshore, held an information session for citizens on the topic, “Plastics in Our Oceans and Lakes.”  The turnout was much greater than expected for a Saturday morning, estimated to number about 300 people.  Before the presentations began, people were offered coffee and tea while they visited various displays and talked with dedicated local environmental groups working towards the reduction of plastic pollution in our water ways and oceans.

The morning was started by a smudging ceremony to bring clear thinking and cooperation within the gathering.  Sven welcomed everyone, introduced the speakers and spoke about the purpose of the morning.  Presentations were then given from a variety of speakers’ viewpoints but the main message was the dire condition of our Great Lakes and oceans due to plastics.  The audience heard the following troubling information from a number of speakers:

In Mississauga less than 12% of plastics are recycled.

In the Great Lakes 80% of the litter is from plastics, including microbeads from textiles.

There are no plastic return programs in Ontario.

Every year 8 million tonnes of plastics enter the oceans, half of them in just the past 13 years.

For example, garbage in the Don River is mostly single use plastic.

And 500 million plastic straws are used every day.

A presentation from the Canadian plastics industry included the following:  there are 2600 plastic companies in Canada ; they employ 82,000 employees; it is a $24.3 billion industry.  They support a goal of 100% of plastics being reused, recycled, and recovered.  Reducing production was not mentioned.

Scientists at the University of Toronto are now using satellites to measure significant plastic contamination found in coastline waters around the world.

The morning ended with a message from Sven about the dangerous level of Great Lakes and ocean plastics pollution and the need for everyone to take part in reducing it with single use plastic being  an early target for reduction in Ontario.  The audience was then invited to ask questions of the speakers.  The morning was very successful in terms of attendance and in new and renewed  dedication in the participants  to confront  the all-important  problems of plastics pollution.

 

– A Report from MIRANET member, Whiteoaks Lorne Park Community Association

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